> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Daugther, Daughter, Whistle

Whistle, Daughter, Whistle / Fourteen Last Sunday / Eighteen Years Old

[ Roud 1570 ; G/D 7:1334 ; Ballad Index R109 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang Daughter, Daughter, Whistle in 1956 on his Tradition album The Foggy Dew and Other Traditional English Love Songs. He commented in the liner notes:

This song, of the impatient girl who suddenly finds she can whistle when invited to whistle for a man, is known in many traditions, including Yiddish and Latin American. It has been suggested that the song means more than meets the ear, and that whistling is part of the witch's technique to summon the powers of darkness when she wants to realise a desire (akin to this belief is the sailor's horror of whistling for fear of raising a storm). Somehow, though, the girl in the song sounds too healthy for a witch.

Isla Cameron sang Whistle, Daughter, Whistle in 1960 on her Topic album with Ewan MacColl of traditional love songs, Still I Love Him. She also sang it in 1966 on Songs from ABC Television's “Hallelujah”.

Frank Purslow and John Pearse sang Whistle, Daughter, Whistle in 1960 on their album Rap-a-Tap-Tap: English Folk Songs Miss Pringle Never Taught Us.

Hedy West sang Whistle, Daughter, Whistle in 1966 on her Topic album Pretty Saro and Other Appalachian Ballads.

Tom Lenihan sang a variant called Sixteen Years, Mama at home in Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, on September 30, 1977. This recording made by Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology As Me and My Love Sat Courting (The Voice of the People Series Volume 15). Both also recorded Mary Delaney singing Fourteen Last Sunday on the 2003 Musical Traditions anthology of Irish Travellers in England, From Puck to Appleby. They commented in the latter's booklet:

This is better known under the title Whistle Daughter, Whistle, although Mary’s text lacks the whistling motif. Cecil Sharp collected it twice in England and once in America, but the texts he published were heavily edited.

It appeared frequently in collections of children’s games; William Wells Newell in his Games and Songs of American Children [Harper and Brothers, 1883] claimed it to be ancient and pointed out its similarity to 15th and 16th Century Flemish, German and French rounds in which a monk or a nun is tempted to dance by various offers.

Tom Lenihan, a farmer from Co Clare, sang it for us in 1977; his was also whistle-less. The only Irish version in print is to be found in Joyce’s Ancient Irish Music [M H McGill and Son, 1906]. This is a re-written, bowdlerised text accompanied by the following note:

‘I remember three stanzas of a song to this air. The conception and plan are good, but two of the verses are too coarse for publication; and even the one I give had to be softened down in one particular word. I will give the song a new dress. The three verses are retained, as little altered as possible, and even the old rhymes are preserved. I have endeavoured also to carry out the original spirit and conception’.

Alison McMorland sang Whistle, Daughter, Whistle in 1980 on Frankie Armstrong's, Kathy Henderson's, Sandra Kerr's and her album of women's songs, My Song is My Own.

Incantaion sang Eighteen Years Old in 1994 on their album Sergeant Early's Dream.

Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton sang Eighteen Years Old on their 2000 album A Thousand Miles or More.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Daughter, Daughter, Whistle

“Mother, I longs to marry, I longs to be a bride;
I longs to lay with some young man, and close to by his side;
Close to by his side, O how happy I could be;
For I'm young and merry and almost weary of my virginity.“

“Daughter, I was twenty before that I was wed,
And many a long and weary mile I carried my maidenhead.”
“Oh, mother that may be, but it's not the case with me;
For I'm young and merry and almost weary of my virginity.”

“Daughter, daughter, whistle, and you shall have a sheep.”
“I cannot whistle mother, but I can sadly weep.
My maidenhead does grieve me, that fills my heart with fear;
And it is a burden, a heavy burden, it's more than I can bear.”

“Daughter, daughter, whistle, and you shall have a cow.”
“I cannot whistle mother, for indeed I not know how.
My maidenhood does grieve me, that fills my heart with fear.
It is a burden, a heavy burden, it's more than I can bear.”

“Daughter, daughter, whistle, and you shall have a man.”
“(Whistles), you see very well I can.”
“You nasty, impudent Jane, I will pull your courage down;
Take off your silks and satins, and put on your working gown.
I'll send you to the fields a-tossing of the hay,
With your fork and rake the hay to make, and then hear what you say.”

“Mother, don't be so cruel to send me to the field,
Where young men may entice me and to them I may yield.
For, mother it's quite well known that I am not too young grown,
And it is a pity a maid so pretty as I should lie alone.“

Mary Delaney sings Fourteen Last Sunday

“I was fourteen years last Sunday, mamma,
I’m longing for to be wed,
In the arms of some young man’d
‘d comfort me in bed,
In the arms of some young man
Would roll with me all night,
I’m young and I’m airy and bold contrary
And buckled I’d long to be.”

“Hold your tongue, dear daughter,” she says,
“I was forty when I was wed,
And that it was no shame for me
To carry me boss into bed.”
“For if that was the way with you, Mamma,
It is not the way with me,
I’m young and I’m airy and bold contrary
And buckled I’d like to be.”

“Hold your tongue, dear daughter,” she says,
“And I will buy you a sheep.”
“No, indeed, Mamma,” she says,
“That would cause me for to weep,
To weep and weep and weep, Mamma,
It’s the thing I never can do.”
“For I’ll send you down to the meadows all day
And I’ll stop you from drinking tea.”

“Hold your tongue, dear daughter,” she says,
“And I will buy you a cow.”
“No, indeed, Mamma,” she says,
“’Twould cause me for to vow,
To vow, to vow and vow, Mamma,
That’s a thing I never will do.
I’m young and I’m airy and cracked and contrary
And buckled I’d long to be.”

“Hold your tongue, dear daughter,” she says,
“And I will buy you a man.”
“Do, indeed, dear Mother,” she says,
“For the sooner the better you can,
For if that is the way with you, mamma,
It is not the way with me.
I’m young and I’m airy and bold contrary
And buckled I’d like to be.”